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How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Botany Paper 2019

Today we are providing UPSC Civil Services  Botany Paper preparation tips & strategies. Now we will teach you strategy of “How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Botany Paper 2019″. This post is aimed to help you in forming your strategy for Botany optional for Civil Services Exam, considering its various aspects. Botany, also called plant science(s), plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist or plant scientist is a scientist who specialises in this field.

How to Prepare UPSC Civil Services Botany Paper 2019

Step 1 : Know the Syllabus – Botany Paper

you should know about the Civil Services Botany Paper Syllabus.

Read : UPSC Civil Services Botany Syllabus 2019

Step 2 : Select the Best Reference Books for Botany Paper

Preparation of Botany (mains)

It’s advisable to start Botany preparation as early as possible after the upsc preliminary examination and with focussed, systematic study one can complete the subject by end of august.

Useful Reference Books for Botany

  1. Microbiology by Prescott et al, 5th edition
  2. Algae & Bryophyta by H. N. Shrivastava
  3. Phycology by Lee
  4. Pteridophytes by Parihar
  5. Gymnosperms by G. L. Chopra & V. Verma.
  6. Taxonomy by O.P. Sharma.
  7. Plant Anatomy by Vashishtha
  8. Botany: A Human concern – R S P Verma
  9. Molecular Cell Biology – by Harvey Lodish, James Darnell and others (6th edition – 2007; WH Freeman Publication).
  10. Genetics by Klug and Cummings
  11. Biotechnology by B. D. Singh
  12. Plant Physiology by Devlin & Witham, 4th Ed [A basic but essential reading]
  13. Ecology by E P Odum

Step 3 : Prepare Important Topics

The preparation for Mains must be over before you start with Preliminary preparation, as the Main exam syllabus covers nearly 75% of the requirements of the Preliminary examination.


If a student has not done graduation with Botany, the suggested strategy would be as follows.

(1) Surveying the syllabus of Botany carefully and identifying the completely unfamiliar areas.

(2)  Going through at least 2 basic books with a purpose to acquaint yourself with the unfamiliar areas. You can consider the following books:(a) The NCERT Text Books for Biology–Std. XI and XII

(b) Botany for Degree Students – Dr. A. C. Dutta

(3)  Doing a careful survey of the past 5 years’ Main Examination Question Papers and identifying the areas of significance.

(4)  Identifying the most fruitful areas:

The most fruitful parts in the Paper I of the Main Examination Syllabus are:(a)  Plant Diversity –In this area, do not go for excessive study of life cycles. First of all, the selection of the genera for your coverage must be done carefully. (b) Angiosperm Systematics – as this area tends to give a fixed question in paper I (c) Embryology of Angiosperms and Morphogenesis – This area is relatively small but can give you at least one full length question plus one short note, thus accounting for about 80 marks in a paper of 300 marks. (d) Economic Botany, which normally carries a weightage of about 40 marks.

If a student covers these areas thoroughly (with a possible elimination of the questions that were asked just the last year), s/he can be absolutely sure of handling 5 questions in the Main Examination Paper I with very balanced answers.

For equally good performance in Paper II, the student needs to cover the following areas:

(a)  An account of cell organelles & processes. In Botany, you need to focus a bit more on Cellular Processes like Cell division cycle and its regulation, Vesicular transport, Signal transduction, Chromosomal aberrations etc. There is usually a greater focus on these topics in the recent years.

(b)  Genetics, Breeding and Biotechnology.

(c)  Plant Physiology & Biochemistry

(d)  Ecology (Only for Short Notes)

(5)  If we see the Main Examination paper of last few years, then it is obvious that the UPSC can ask even a short note on a topic which is otherwise quite long in coverage. Recent short notes on Cell Signaling and DNA Replication are examples of such questions.

How to Study Botany for IAS Mains

There are many reasons to make Botany a favourite optional subject, of late, with the students of Botany, Zoology, Agriculture, Medicine, Pharmacy and Chemistry background.
(1) The subject, being from the science stream, is straight and conceptual in nature. Even if you do not have great skills of language but if you can understand and internalize the basic concepts and facts in a simplified manner, you can score very well.
(2)  If you are a graduate with Botany, then all that you need is the coverage of the topics you have not covered in B.Sc. plus a finishing touch to your existing knowledge base according to the Civil Service Examination. These requirements can be fulfilled in a relatively short period of time.
(3)  Being a Science subject, the syllabus is very well defined. So, you can carry out your preparation by remaining precisely within the boundaries of the syllabus.
(4)  The questions which are asked are straightforward and basic in nature. So, writing a good, balanced answer is not difficult for anyone who has mastered the basic concepts.
(5)   Last but not the least; a number of areas in the Botany syllabus (for example Environmental Issues) are extremely relevant to the General Studies preparation as well.

Step 4 : Prepare Previous Question papers

How much time it takes to prepare?

4-5 months, if you study Botany 12-15 hours per week. This should be enough. Also, it depends on how much can you recall your graduation concepts.